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A 'Famous' Ancestor


famous -Pilgrim2It appears everyone has a secret desire that as they work on their family history that a famous relative will be found. Viewing the recent ‘Genealogy Roadshow‘ on PBS, that is a common theme.

Checking a dictionary, the word ‘famous‘ means a renown, notable, illustrious, eminent, distinguished or celebrated person. To include a former U. S. president or a well-known movie actor to your family tree tends to be an added plus for most people. Some feel it really brings some excitement to their overall family research.

In reality, most of us do not have famous or renown ancestors, but rather the main stock of citizens that helped build whichever native homeland they lived in. This very desire to have someone infamous drives people to search for the notorious, mysterious or criminal relatives also.

However, another view can be to exam our ordinary ancestors and see what extraordinary accomplishments them made, usually against tremendous odds. An excellent example would be any individual or family that moved willingly from their native homeland or hometown to search a new land and hopefully a better life. famous-Wilderness_roadWhether those who came as the Pilgrims to uncharted land in November 1620 or those who moved in the late 1700s into western regions of Virginia and the Appalachian Mountains, or those who traveled in covered wagons across America to resettle in Oregon or California in the 1840s and ’50s. Each one was a pioneer, a trail brazer, facing the unknown and could be considered distinguished for their achievement.

Once you get into more family history research you will be amazed how many of your ancestors can fit that category. Then there are those relatives who served the country in times of war – from the American Revolutionary War to World War II. Look and see how many females in the family tree were young widows and had to provide for their children without any community or governmental assistance. There were females who were early nurses, caring for the ill when there was no medical equipment or supplies.  famous-nurses

So yes, everyone does have some ‘famous’ ancestors, who made their own accomplishments for which the family can be proud. Tell their story for they were more than just a name and date.

Related genealogy blogs:

Think Outside the Box

Related to a Celebrity

Celebrities on Your Tree?

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